May 2, 2013

Latest Read: Amplified

Here are the basics ...
Amplified (#1) by Tara Kelly
Publication date: Oct. 25, 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from the library

Summary: When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good:  Amplified had me absently bobbing my head along to music I couldn't even hear. Tara Kelly's description of the instruments coming together and the strong feelings music stirs inside of Jasmine felt so real. It completely pulled me into the book, as if I was standing there holding the guitar and playing the song myself. (How I wish I could!)

Jasmine has decided to take a huge risk - defer college and pursue her dream of music by trying to get in a band, even though she's never played in front of a live audience before. Her dad, who she has a strained relationship with, promptly kicks her out until she comes to her senses.  That's when she finds herself in Santa Cruz. Homeless, car-less and trying out for the first guitarist wanted ad she sees, for a band called C-Sides. I liked that even though she was clearly talented, she had to fight for her place in the band. She had to prove herself and overcome her stage fright which went hand-in-hand with being comfortable in her own skin and not letting her father's harsh upbringing scare her. And some of the new people Jasmine meets unknowingly help her to face these fears.

Jasmine is awesome. Seriously. The author certainly has a knack for creating authentic female protagonists while having just the right amount of awkwardness and quirk to make her endearing. That's how I felt about Jasmine. As she befriends the band, I was happy to see her walls start to come down. It's a slow process but well worth the wait. I loved the friendship she formed with Veta, the lead singer, but most of all, with Sean the bassist. You know my thing for musicians so in my mind, this guy was pretty hot. I definitely felt the chemistry between them and I thought the portrayal was very realistic. Not to mention a little different from most YA romances I've read (you'll understand why I say this when you read it).

(Super minor) reservations: There were a couple loose ends that I would've liked to seen tied up, like the relationship with her father. But it turns out there's a sequel! Normally with contemporary books, I tend to think - is a series really necessary? But in this case, I don't think I mind.

Do I recommend?: Yes! Read this, read Tara Kelly's other book Harmonic Feedback (my review). I love this author's writing and if you're a music lover, I'm sure you'll feel the same way.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. I have yet to read a Tara Kelly book, and I think that needs to be remedied. This one sounds particularly appealing and I ADORE the cover! So glad you enjoyed it :)

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  2. Oooh, this sounds so cute! So happy you liked it, I'm going to pick me up a copy right away! :)

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  3. I read this book last year and absolutely loved it. Jazzy is one of my favorite female narrators.

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